After a long succession of riots, assaults and killings at or near Johannesburg's African beerhalls, the police have now decided to urge their early removal from the European areas of the city.
After a long succession of riots, assaults and killings at or near Johannesburg's African beerhalls, the police have now decided to urge their early removal from the European areas of the city. Three of Johannesburg's five beerhalls: "Central" "Mai Mai" and "Welhuter" are to be closed by the middle of July. They will be replaced by decentralised, smaller beerhalls in the African parts of the town.
The three beerhalls attract a total average attendance of 45,500 Natives on a Sunday. The natives, not allowed to drink strong liquor, wines or the beer served to the white population, flock to their native beerhalls to drink "Kaffir Beer" a week drink specially brewed for Africans.
The huge beerhalls are dreary places. The coloured customers - men only - queue outside until the hall opens after a signal on a policeman's whistle. They pay from 3d up to 1/-d for the beer, which is served in plastic mugs without handles, which cannot be used as weapons in a fight..
Many share a one chilling mug of Kaffir Beer between them.
In the past white people have molested by Native crowds outside beerhalls. The Minister of Bantu Administration Mr. N.D.C. de Wet Nel motivated the decision to close the establishments by pointing out that it was necessary "...in view of the alarming condition and the shocking events during the past weeks.
The three beerhalls cater mainly for the Natives living permanently in the White area, such as those in domestic employment, working in flats and buildings, and those living in hostels and compounds.
Other spokesmen point out that much of the trouble in caused by the drinking laws. They advocate a change allowing the natives to drink wines and "White Man's Beer". They point out that the disturbance outside the beerhalls are not always caused by the bonafide customers, but agree that smaller beerhalls will encourage better drinking habits than those practised in the huge establishments where natives meet to "drink like cattle".
The white population has comparative freedom of drinking. They must, however, sigh a register when purchasing liquor. Many Europeans make an illegal living by supplying alcohol to natives.